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Capitalism and State Intervention

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Soviet cogitations: 216
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 27 Jul 2013, 05:04
Ideology: Other Leftist
Pioneer
Post 14 Jul 2014, 03:17
In a recent online article, Kevin Carson, a Mutualist (left-libertarian) writer, discusses how most of the vast fortunes accumulated under capitalism are the result of state intervention and privilege. Carson’s piece is very much U.S.-centric as it is aimed at the notion popular on the American Right that low-income Americans are spongers who take from the “makers,” those more affluent Americans. However, I am sure his arguments could be applied to any capitalist society.

Carson makes the point that the real “takers” are the very wealthy who use their control over the means of production to exact tribute from the rest of us. Here is a good sample paragraph from the article:

Quote:
But you don’t get to be super-rich — to the tune of hundreds of millions or billions of dollars — by making stuff. You get that filthy rich only through crime of one sort or another (even if it’s technically perfectly legal in this society). You get the really big-time money not by making stuff or doing stuff, but by controlling the conditions under which other people are allowed to make stuff and do stuff. You get super-rich by getting into a position where you can fence off opportunities to produce, enclosing those natural opportunities as a source of rent. You do it by collecting tolls and tribute from those who actually make stuff, as a condition of not preventing them from doing so. In other words you get super-rich by being a parasite and extorting protection money from productive members of society, with the help of government.


http://c4ss.org/content/29214

While I know most of the posters here are not left-libertarians or anarchists, I wonder if perhaps, given how weak communist organizations are today, we should take a much more anti-statist position and put more emphasis on undermining the state-derived privileges that help to prop up the capitalist system. Should communists be siding more often with left-libertarians?
Loz
[+-]
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Soviet cogitations: 11879
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 14 Jul 2014, 04:21
Quote:
While I know most of the posters here are not left-libertarians or anarchists, I wonder if perhaps, given how weak communist organizations are today, we should take a much more anti-statist position and put more emphasis on undermining the state-derived privileges that help to prop up the capitalist system.

Isn't that what communists are supposed to be doing anyway? What exactly do you have in mind here?

Quote:
Should communists be siding more often with left-libertarians?

What for? We've been saying that for a century before something called left-libertarianism appeared ( on the Internet ). We have our science and our political economy and everything, they have blogs.


On an unrelated not i'd just like to see what people here think is the point and purpose of neoliberalism? Why would f. ex. the British state sell its public railways only to end up paying even more in subsidies and stuff to the private companies owning it. Why does the American bourgeoisie tolerate spending an absurd amount of tax money on health that only ends up in corporate pockets with Americans still not having a proper social healthcare system?
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Soviet cogitations: 4465
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Mar 2010, 01:20
Ideology: None
Forum Commissar
Post 14 Jul 2014, 11:51
Loz wrote:
Why would f. ex. the British state sell its public railways only to end up paying even more in subsidies and stuff to the private companies owning it.

The private corporations who line their pockets with the ill-gotten gains from privatizing public assets (and their golf club pals in government) are the ones who are promoting it as "sound" economic policy. The minority who see through it are either those profiting from it (so they keep their mouths shut) or they're conspiracy cranks who are the subject of derision.

There's also a strong ideological component to this approach. They see the state as inherently bad and oppressive and feel intuitively that anything which takes away from the state is a good thing. Of course this means ignoring all the practical evidence to the contrary, but when they are rewarded with such an abundance of wealth for those beliefs it's not hard for them to forget that it doesn't actually work in theory. In fact I could even be generous and imagine that they just don't see the contradiction.

As far as the main topic here goes, while I think Communists could consider "saying" they are anti-state if it gets them in the door I hope they don't start to believe it for even a second. The state is probably mankind's greatest invention. (I always thought the idea of "the withering away of the state" was something for the very distant future when life is composed of clouds of sentient gas and nothing for the lifetimes of us or even our grandchildren.)
Soviet cogitations: 216
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 27 Jul 2013, 05:04
Ideology: Other Leftist
Pioneer
Post 16 Jul 2014, 02:28
Loz,

I was thinking of developing grassroots alternatives to the state and large political parties, such as working-class mutual aid societies, worker's cooperatives, the use of wildcat strike action. I do not think these grassroots initiatives are enough to bring about socialism; at some point the state must be seized. But right now that seems to be a rather remote possibility in most countries.

I agree with you regarding some of the scientific deficiencies of left-libertarianism, but from a political standpoint left-libertarians may be a very important ally in trying to convince workers of the deficiencies of the capitalist system. Authors such as Kevin Carson are quite good at dispelling the most common arguments of the Right and the progressive "Left" regarding the essential justice of the capitalist system.
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